SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Nearly a million PG&E customers could have their power shut off Wednesday due to fire risk. Will they get compensated for the time they’re left without power?
According to the website, PG&E operates a “Safety Net Program” and will reimburse customers who are without power for more than 48 hours due to a severe event, including weather. The shut off scheduled for Wednesday would not fall under this category; however, customers will not get charged for power since they are not consuming any power.
A PG&E spokesperson told CBS13, “PG&E does not reimburse customers for losses, as power will be shut off for safety when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk threaten a portion of the electric system.”
Customers can file a reimbursement claim for any reason and those are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The Storm Inconvenience Payment Program stipulates: “outages must be the result of a major weather-related event that caused significant damage to our distribution system.”
Payments range from 25 to 100 dollars, depending on the outage length.
- 48-72 hours: $25
- 72-96 hours: $50
- 96-120 hours: $75
- 120+ hours: $100
Customers must be on a rate schedule E-1, E-6, E-7, E-8, EM, ES, ESR, ET, E-TOU, and EV. or enrolled in CARE or Medical Baseline Allowance. Those affected and can expect payments 60 to 120 days after the outage.
Businesses, agricultural accounts, multi-family building common areas, streetlights, and other non-residential accounts are ineligible. For those living in a place with a master-meter, including mobile home parks, the customer of record receives the payment.
PG&E says it looks at a number of factors before deciding to shut off the power:
- Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
- Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
- Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain, and local climate
- Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
- On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and field crews
PG&E says it may shut off power to communities relying on lines running through an area experiencing high winds, dry conditions, etc.
Once the weather stabilizes PG&E crews then need to visually inspect each mile of the impacted power lines to make sure they’re safe and not damaged. The crews inspect the lines during the daylight hours with the goal of restoring power within 24 to 48 hours. If repairs are needed, or the weather conditions aren’t safe, the power shut off can last longer than the goal time.